Kagadi District Education Department  has  kicked off the implementation of  a new smartphone-based inspection tool to curb the systematic absenteeism of headteachers and teachers in public schools.

Leveraging technology, the new tool named “Teachers Effectiveness and Learner Achievement,” TELA, is expected to provide real-time information and a clear picture of what is happening at schools.

A total of 146 smartphones have been distributed to 136 primary schools and 10 government aided schools. The phones are preinstalled with the TELA and all of them have internet access. To ensure that all schools transmit data to Directorate of Education Standards (DES), the smartphones come with two Sim cards; MTN and Network.

The time-on-task Performance Management System is designed to monitor the real-time attendance of teachers and headteachers using a smartphone with Global Positioning System and Biometric features.

In addition to tracking absenteeism at school, the system  is also be used to track timetable implementation as it will be sharing information on which lesson is being taught at every particular school.

Teacher absenteeism continues to pose a significant challenge to the education sector. For instance, several studies have attributed this factor as one of the highest contributors to lower learning outcomes in public schools in Uganda.

According to established standards, teachers are required to be present at school from 8 to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays, whether they have a lesson scheduled or not. However, many teachers don’t heed to this with some appearing as and when they have lessons to teach while others don’t show up completely.

The current inspection system, which relies on the School Management Committee and head teacher as the primary inspectors, has been deemed ineffective by experts. This is due to the fact that even head teachers have been known to have poor attendance at schools.

The system is based on GPS. We can determine that someone is physically visiting classrooms or inputting information from a stationary location. This serves to prompt the head teachers to fulfill their responsibilities

As lessons typically last an average of 40 minutes, this means that the system will be updated every 40 minutes.

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